The Gustavus Adolphus College men’s soccer team advanced to the MIAC Playoff Championship match with a convincing 3-0 win over Saint John’s University in St. Peter on Wednesday afternoon. Gustavus will now play Macalester on Friday evening at 7 pm for the playoff title. The MIAC Playoff champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Gusties improve to 15-1-3 on the season, while the Johnnies finish at 12-4-3.
The Gusties opened the scoring at 30:16 of the first half when Bobby Kroog headed in a cross from Jonathan Astry from the right side approximately six yards out. Gustavus maintained its 1-0 until late in the first half when Taylor Stein scooped up a deflection off a Bobby Kroog shot and directed into an open net to give the Gusties a 2-0 lead. The goal was scored with just 17 seconds remaining in the half. Gustavus held a 8-2 advantage in shots on goal and a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks in the first half. Johnnie goalkeeper Eric Prawalsky recorded six saves in the half, while Gustie netminder Andrew Moulton turned away two shots.
The second half was more evenly played, however the Gusties put the match out of reach when Caleb Bousu beat two Johnnie defenders one-on-one and then slipped the ball on the ground past goalkeeper Prawalsky at the 51:41 mark. Bousu’s goal was unassisted. Saint John’s put together a couple of different scoring opportunities in the second half, however only one required a significant effort by Gustavus goalkeeper Andy Moulton. Gustie Head Coach Larry Zelenz substituted junior Nate Hitch for Moulton in the nets with 14 minutes remaining in the match.
Gustavus outshot Saint John’s 16-9 in the match with both teams earning four corner kick opportunities. Johnnie goalkeeper Eric Prawalsky recorded six saves and allowed all three goals. Gustavus goalkeeper Andrew Moulton made five saves in 76 minutes of play and then Nate Hitch closed out the match without having to make a save. The shutout was the 15th of the year for Gustavus in 19 matches.
The Gusties extended their unbeaten string to 12 matches (nine victories, three ties). Gustavus has allowed only one goal in its last 10 matches and has outscored its opponents 25-1 in the 12-match unbeaten string. The Gusties have outscored their opponents 42-5 in 19 matches this season.
Gustavus is currently ranked 18th nationally and third in the West Region in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) Division III poll.